Crash site Alexandria Harbour, Egypt
Airline Imperial Airways
Aircraft Short S.8 Calcutta – G-AASJ – City of Khartoum
Route Brindisi – Athens – Mirabella Bay – Alexandria
Crew 4 – 1 survivor
Passengers 9 – 0 survivors


The crash

The flying boat left Brindisi early in the morning with seven passengers, called at Athens where two more passengers embarked, and went on to Mirabella to take on fuel for the remainder of the flight to Alexandria. The plane left Mirabella in the afternoon, and at 19:20 the wireless operator informed Alexandria that the City of Khartoum was preparing to alight. Nothing more was heard or seen of the flying boat until wreckage was found by the destroyer HMS Brilliant around midnight. It then became evident that the flying boat had crashed 2 km northwest of Alexandria Harbour. The only survivor was the captain who was picked up by HMS Brilliant after 5 hours in the water.
The reason for the crash was that the plane ran out of fuel. The fuel gauges were known to be inaccurate and the fuel jets in the carburetors were incorrectly set.
The wreck was salvaged by a large floating crane on 6 January 1936.


The mail

Most of the mail was recovered on 6th January 1936 – in total 71 mail bags with 390 kg of mail.
On board was mail destined for Egypt, many Asian countries and also Australia. Most of the mail could be forwarded, but in watersoaked condition.
A lot of different handstamps, explanation notes and labels have been recorded from this crash.
So far I have only seen 4 covers related to the Nordic countries.



Examples of mail

19351231 010a 19351231 010b

Cover from Denmark postmarked HORSENS 27.12.35 addressed to Soerabaja, Dutch East Indies. On the back is an arrival postmark of SOERABAJA 13.1.36. The manuscript note on the back is probably applied by a collector. In fact a special label was used at Soerabaja, but not on this cover.
Sanford Collection.

19351231 001a 19351231 001b

Cover from Sweden with metermark JÖNKÖPING 23 XII 35 to Rangoon, India. On the back is a Sassnitz-Berlin railway transitmark dated 24.12. and also an arrival postmark RANGOON GPO 12 JAN 36. In general mail to Rangoon shows no special markings, and the manuscript note at the back was probably applied by a collector.
Thiesen Collection.

19351231 003a 19351231 003b

Cover from Sweden postmarked ESKILSTUNA  21 12 35 to Sydney, Australia. On the back are two crashmarkings used in Melbourne (handstamp + label). Also on the back is a BERLIN-SASSNITZ railway transitmark dated 22.12. and also arrival postmarks of Melbourne 19 JA 36 and SYDNEY 20 JA 36. The manuscript note on the front was probably applied by the recipient.
Thiesen Collection.

Cover from Sweden with illegible postmark as all the stamps were washed off. The cover is addressed to Colombo, Ceylon. On the front is a ship postmark from the route from Sweden to Germany TRELLEBORG-SASSNITZ 27 12 35. On the back is a crash label used in Colombo dated 15 JA. 36. Also on the back is a BERLIN-SASSNITZ railway transitmark dated 28.12.35. It is not known where the TAXE PERQUE marking was applied.
Ekenstierna Collection.